Wirksworth pensioner fears being left housebound by bus route changes

Wirksworth resident Peggy Waters says she will be deprived of her indepdendence when Trent Barton reroutes the bus service which runs close to her house next week.
Wirksworth resident Peggy Waters says she will be deprived of her indepdendence when Trent Barton reroutes the bus service which runs close to her house next week.

An 89-year-old Wirksworth woman says she is set to lose her proud independence after a bus company redirected its service away from her home.

Peggy Waters, who lives on Ian Avenue, currently travels on the Little Sixes route about three times a week from a stop 100 metres away on Willowbath Lane.

However, starting from Monday, the bus will no longer make the horseshoe deviation off Derby Road, and the nearest stop will be 300m away.

She said: “I’ve always said that if they took that bus away I’d be a prisoner in my own home. I am losing my sight, have to walk with a stick, and have a heart condition.

“I would be terrified crossing the main road to reach the new stop, and would have to set off at least 30 minutes before the bus is due.”

She added: “I like my independence. I get told off for it but I want to keep it that way. I’d cope somehow, I just don’t want to depend on people.

“I have wonderful friends and neighbours but they have work and lives of their own when I need to get to the doctor’s or hairdressers, go shopping or meet a friend for coffee. Things like that mean a lot when you live on your own.”

With several sheltered accommodation homes also in the neighbourhood, Peggy is not alone in fearing the impact of the changes. At least four other pensioners are known to be in a similar situation.

It has been suggested that the bus is being redirected because residents parking on Willowbath Lane are making it impossible for buses to get through, but Trent Barton did not confirm that to be the case.

The company did not carry out any consultations or appear to widely publicise the change.

Director Tom Morgan said: “We’re making changes to the Little Sixes to help deliver timekeeping improvements, a top customer priority.

“These changes will benefit the majority of customers and will provide an improved service for the main communities along the route.”

Derbyshire county councillor Irene Ratcliffe is working with community transport services to find a solution although it is likely be less convenient for Peggy.

She said: “It’s such a sad situation, and we didn’t know anything about the change until Peggy raised it. It’s the only bus that goes to the health centre and covers a very small area.

“If it is an issue of parking, we could have worked with residents to keep the road open.”